Athena Coustenis


ATHENA COUSTENIS is director of research with the National Centre for Scientific Research of France, based at Paris Observatory in Meudon. She earned her Ph.D. in astrophysics and space techniques from the University of Paris VII. She works in the field of planetology using ground and space-based observatories to study solar system bodies with particular emphasis on the satellites of the giant planets and exoplanets. She focuses on the astrobiological aspects and the search for habitable worlds in the Solar System and beyond. Her studies in comparative planetology touch on the subject of climate changes that could help understand the long-term evolution on our own planet. In recent years she has been leading efforts to define and select future space missions to be undertaken by the European Space Agency and its international partners. She is the former President of the IUGG International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences and of the ESA Solar System and Exploration Working Group. As the current Chair of the ESSC, she is an ex-officio member of several committees within the ESA Advisory Structure, of the Space Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences, of CNES and of COSPAR. She is also involved in several leadership committees of scientific societies, associations and institutions like EGU, IUGG, IAU, IAA, EPSC-Europlanet, ISSI and ISSOL